Are you involved in a transportation-related dispute?
The Canadian Transportation Agency can help. Here's how:
As a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal, the Canadian Transportation Agency has a wide range of expertise in the areas of air, rail, marine and accessible transportation. Every year, hundreds of parties come to the Agency seeking solutions to their disputes involving transportation services, rates, fees and charges, terms and conditions of carriage, accessibility and a host of other matters.
Before approaching the Agency, bring your concerns to the attention of the transportation operator (such as air, rail or marine carriers — either freight or passenger —, airports or port authorities, etc.) as soon as possible as you may be able to obtain satisfaction and find out that you don't need to come before the Agency. Furthermore, the Agency will require the operator's response to help it determine the nature and scope of the dispute. If you have contacted the transportation operator but have not yet received a reply, the Agency will not address the dispute until you have allowed sufficient time for a response.
If your attempts to deal with the operator directly are unsuccessful, the next step is to discuss the dispute and your options with an Agency staff member.
Thanks to their extensive knowledge of the transportation industry, issues and stakeholders, Agency personnel are often able to resolve disputes informally through facilitation. For many parties, this quick, no-cost route has proven to be a highly satisfactory alternative to the Agency's other dispute resolution options.
Also offered at no cost to the parties is mediation, another informal, less resource-intensive alternative to the formal, quasi-judicial Agency process. Although this approach is more structured than facilitation, it is flexible, confidential and voluntary, allowing disputing parties to develop creative solutions that may not be available through formal adjudication. When both parties agree to refer their dispute to mediation, an Agency-appointed mediator will work with them to develop solutions and produce collaborative outcomes resulting in a better understanding of the issues and in agreements that inspire high levels of satisfaction and commitment. The statutory time frame for completing the mediation process is 30 days unless parties to the mediation agree otherwise.
For certain business-related rail matters, upon request of all parties involved, the Agency may also offer arbitration services. In these cases, the arbitrator will consider information provided by the parties and make a binding decision. All costs for this process are paid by the parties involved.
You may also choose to proceed with the Agency's formal decision-making process. As a quasi-judicial tribunal, the Agency operates similarly to a court and has the authority to issue decisions and orders on matters within its jurisdiction through the formal adjudication process. When a case is filed with the Agency, a panel of at least two tribunal Members is appointed to consider it. The Agency will ensure that each party in a case has the opportunity to file its submissions, usually within prescribed timeframes. Parties will be required to demonstrate their case to the Agency by providing sufficient information and documentation to allow the Agency to investigate the dispute. Agency staff provides research and analysis for careful review by the panel Members who then assess parties' rights in a fair and transparent manner before making a decision.
With respect to the formal decision process, the Agency strives to deal with all of its cases within 120 days. However, the Agency may take more than 120 days to issue a decision due to the complexity of the particular circumstances of a case. While most cases are resolved with written pleadings (submissions) only, the Members may hold public hearings, usually for more complex cases.
While the Agency has the power to order corrective measures, it cannot award compensation for pain or suffering or loss of enjoyment. Decisions of the Agency are made public and are posted on the Agency's website, including information about the subject matter of the complaint and the names of the parties involved. For more information on the Agency's policy regarding the publication of names and other information, please consult its Privacy Statement.
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